Is There a Right to Newsgathering in Hong Kong? Putting the CFA Judgment of Choy Yuk Ling in Context


  • Mei Ning YAN



In Hong Kong, the Court of Final Appeal in HKSAR v Choy Yuk Ling (CFA 2023) quashed the convictions of a journalist who was accused of knowingly making false statements in her search requests of a government-maintained vehicles register containing personal data crucial to newsgathering. The Court held that the relevant search purposes should not be narrowly construed to exclude bona fide journalism; regard has to be given to freedom of speech and of the press; and data protection law permits disclosures of personal data in the public interest for news activity purposes. However, this decision was soon overturned by the Government’s new measures which in effect prevent any search of the register for journalistic purposes. In early 2024, the enactment of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance by the Government has further eroded the right to newsgathering of Hong Kong journalists.

Keywords: Hong Kong; Court of Final Appeal; newsgathering; freedom of speech and of the press; protection of personal data; Safeguarding National Security Ordinance 2024.


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